Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'm dreaming about Dessert!

As I was stuffing my face with chicken 'n dumplings a few moments ago, all I could think about was 1) how yummy chicken and dumplings 2) how hot the chicken 'n dumplings in my mouth were 3) and what I could fix for dessert. How sad is that? Or maybe it isn't sad at all. Depends on how you look at it... So, after much deliberation, I have decided on old faithful, molten lava cakes. They are so amazing, super simple to make, and I conveniently keep all of the ingredients on hand. 
I can't take credit for the picture here, but if you click on it, you will be taken to the Tasty Kitchen Blog where I found the recipe. Definitely worth the effort!

Now, I can't look at the picture any longer, I'm off to make some!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmafy, Christmafy, Christmafy

I absolutely love this season! It is time for colored lights, wrapping paper, and lots of baking. What can possibly be better than that?!? Finally put the tree up this week and I find myself sitting and just staring at it for long periods of time. That is normal, right? And here it is in all its pre-light beauty.
And just in case that isn't enough, check it out in the dark. Magical. Simply, magical.  

And this Friday I will be participating in a little 5K called the Rudolph Run downtown. I'm super pumped... and rumor has it we will be making reindeer shirts, red tutus and wearing our hair in buns resembling reindeer. It's only appropriate. We are teachers, after all. Pictures to come, hopefully.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Farmer's Market and a Home Project

A few weekends ago, my parents invited  me to join them, along with my grandparents, to a show at TPAC. We had a little confusion with the time and ended up getting there early, so we decided to go to the Farmer's Market at the Bicentennial Mall not too far away. I haven't been there in a long time, but it is such an interesting place. Being the beginning of November, there were tons of gourds and pumpkins. I LOVE gourds and pumpkins! Here are some of the more interesting ones I saw. Not sure that there is a purpose, other than for display, but still pretty cool.
 And of course there were many lovely pumpkins as well. Of all shapes and sizes...
They even had a very pretty display with a variety of the pumpkins they sell. 

Changing subjects completely, I have been in major home improvement mode. It is a problem I have several times a year. I bought this mirror at the flea market years ago, and it has occupied a space in my house since then. But I thought it needed a little updating. So I took it apart... 

 And took it outside to spray paint. I already had the bronze colored paint, and what did I have to lose? So I sprayed it down. It has a totally different looks now. 
And it only took about 30 minutes to do (minus drying time). I seriously love painting just about anything that sits still long enough. Good thing I don't have any pets, right? On to the next project!

Birth of a New Chair

Pinterest is the foundation of 99% of my conversations. And the birth of this latest and greatest idea. I have this fluffy, comfy, and slightly hideous old chair that belonged to my parents since... oh, I don't know, the 80's? I've seen pictures of it in a brown pattern that might have been a velvet of sorts. Then my mom had it recovered in the late 80's or early 90's, I would guess. When I moved into an apartment in college, we used this chair and couch in our living room. I pieced together some green slipcovers and it was functional, at best. Since then it has been a mix-matched fixture in my bedroom at my current house. The green isn't so bad, but does not fit any of the other colors in my room. 

Here begins the birth of the "new" chair. I saw this pin on pinterest on how to paint a fabric chair. That's right, fabric. I was doubtful, to say the least. Here is a picture of the monstrosity before. 
Doesn't it look kinda like an elephant? I think it's the wings that look like ears and the curved armrests that look like trunks. Or maybe I have just been teaching too long... 

First, I partially read the tutorial. Next, I started throwing the "ingredients" in a solo cup and slapping it on. Then, I read the rest of the blog and realized I had forgotten a step. Oops. But it didn't mess it up too badly, and I don't plan on really lounging in this chair, so a messed up chair wouldn't rock my world too much. I mixed the fabric medium and the paint with some water, painted it on, and then let it dry. 

After many days of drying and about 4 layers, I put the chair back together and was pretty happy with the results. It's the Earl Grey of my upstairs. Now I just need to pick a fabric to make a band for the bottom of the chair. Where the chair's pink skirt used to be. Too bad I ripped that off years ago...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nashville's Finest (and coldest) Flea Market

Last Saturday, I rolled out of bed bright and early (relatively for a Saturday morning) and headed out to meet my friend Lindsay for the fall's biggest and best flea market! We arrived around 9ish and IT. WAS. FREEZING! Talk about unseasonable cold. And overcast. And windy. But we persevered. And it was worth it. I saw some lovely furniture and stored away some great ideas for future projects. Most importantly, I only bought 2 things. I found 2 matching chunky frames.
Last, but certainly not least, I found these delicious cinnamon rolls! I always used to try to find them, but they sell out pretty fast on Saturdays. I made sure to stop there first, just in case. The picture really doesn't do them justice, but they pile on the icing and are very yummy!

Apparently I am very focused on food these days (and before these days... and probably after these days) Using Pioneer Woman's recipe, I attempted to make some sausage and cheese calzones. And they were pretty tasty. But they kinda exploded in the oven. And might have made a little big mess on the pan as well.

Never mind the looks, my stomach doesn't judge that much.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October Is Happening!

It has been a while since I've blogged, which means this will be a hodge-podge of information. 

Let's begin with the number 1 reason for loving October. See below picture. It is important. It is yummy. It is essential to my happiness and well-being.
Let's discuss the second reason to love October. I LOVE the colors of gourds that grow in the fall. This year, my Dad's garden grew lots of pumpkins and various gourds. When I went to my parents' house, the steps were covered with them! So, generously, I decided to load some into my car. So that they could have their steps back, of course. I'm very selfless like this. 
Next on the agenda. Fall break. Sadly, it is already behind us, but it was a very relaxing and enjoyable break. And of course, I did some crafting over the break. I was at my Grandmother's the weekend before and she had an adorable patchwork pumpkin she had made. I decided I needed to make one as well. But a simpler version because, let's be honest, my patience level isn't anywhere close to my Grandmother's. Trust me. It ended up being the easiest, fastest project I've done in a while! Love it! The pictures are before I glued the little stick stems on, but you get the idea. I put them in my classroom, and the kids loved them just as much. And touched them just as much, but that is another story for another time.  
Another first, fun event in October. The COLOR RUN! I had never participated in this, let alone heard of it. But here's the gist. It is a 5k run/ walk for anyone of any age in downtown Nashville. As you run, there are 4 color stations where they squirt you with colored cornstarch. The runners are encouraged to wear white, to enhance the color experience. 

It was seriously the most fun race EVER! I was very proud of the 7 of us for running the whole thing. I for one did NOT train enough. It was an awesome time! Below are before and after pictures from the car. As we sat in the parking lot... for a whiiiile.

Well, that's probably enough reasons for loving October, right? I will have a new one after tomorrow when I visit the FLEA MARKET! I have high hopes...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

America's Future

What a week it has been! Last week we had only four days and on top of that, we had 2 big achievement tests, along with guidance. Translation: not much teaching time. But we hit the ground running this week and I have been impressed and amused by their writing. The program we are using this year encourages young writers to free write everyday and work towards a longer writing stamina. I honestly doubted the program, but now they are hitting their stride. They are choosing to write more and the mechanics aren't quite as horrendous as before. Here are some samples of a few. This one was about the peaches we had for snack one day. I love this picture. 
 This one was about a student who was in a wedding with her cousin. She had a lot to say.
 This was one of my favorites. She wrote about her Dad paying bills and how much he hates paying bills. So he called the company and told them how he felt. I can relate to that!
 Here's one about a little sister. Cute.
 Another story about a brother who had a well-played prank. And a well-written story as well.
 A story all about video games. Seems to be a popular topic in our class.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why didn't I think to teach reading during the school day???

Three weeks into the new school year, and it feels like I've known these kiddos for years. It's amazing how quickly you can become acquainted with someone you are with for 7 hours a day. But I have a very bright, energetic, creative, fun little group. They are definitely individuals, and they say things that make me think everyday. Here's a story from one of my very smart, and majorly funny kids. We were working on a writing assignment that required them to make a list brainstorming to help them write a story later. The students were asked to trace their shoes on paper and list places their shoes have been recently or in the past. Most kids wrote about trips they went on recently or local places they had visited. This particularly humorous child wrote that his feet had been on "his dad's butt". While I totally believe this to be true, I'm not sure that he got the point of the assignment. Or more probable, he understood the assignment, but decided he could make it better. And he did indeed write a story about kicking his dad's butt. It is going to be an interesting year...

I also had a moment with one of my little girls that makes me wonder if I have been teaching at all these first few weeks. She asked when we were going to start having reading class. I said, "Huh?" thinking I must have understood. You see, we have reading instruction for 2 1/2 hours EVERY DAY. She repeated the same question. I hated to tell her that we HAD already been having reading class and I was sorry she had apparently missed it... Yikes!

One more story also relating to writing. I had a couple of kids getting a little bit rambunctious one day during my guided reading lesson, so I pulled them over for a little "chat" afterwards. And by "chat" I mean "I talk and you listen". Anyways, I told them in a fairly quiet but severely fierce voice that that behavior was completely unacceptable and that if they continued these choices, they would be working by themselves at their desks. Stations are a privilege, after all. Later during free writing time, one of these students decided to journal the event. The topic he chose to write about was things he wonders about. It went something like this. "I wonder if Ms. Hannah will yell at us again. I wonder if she will get mad and yell a lot." It went on for a while in this manner. But my favorite part was the picture. It was me and I had a speech bubble that said "YELL!" So funny. I was telling a coworker and she said she couldn't imagine me yelling. I kindly told her, that is because I wasn't actually yelling. But to his little ears, that is how my fierce voice was perceived. At least he got the message, I suppose.

On a separate note, I had a little creative time this summer and made this awesome jewelry board. I can not even begin to take credit for this as it was a pinterest find and all my friends would have seen it too. But I can not emphasize enough how much I LOVE this board with all my jewelry every time I walk into my bathroom. It makes me smile. Here are before and after pictures.

On a completely unrelated note (because I am not sure what this could possibly relate to) I am attaching a picture I took while on vacation a couple of years ago. We were doing some shopping and this sign was posted in the back of the store. Really makes me want to step up my teaching for my EL kids, I'll tell ya! There's some motivation!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books, Lots of Teachers Pouty Looks...

I know that isn't exactly the saying, but with school starting 2 weeks earlier this year, there has been a good show of pouting. Of course I was not a part of this. Eager as I was to come back. Who wants to lay at the pool anyways? 

 It is that time of year again. Fresh boxes of crayons, bruises from running into newly placed furniture, and cob webs being wiped from the corners. Ahhh, the joys of back to school time. 

Since I moved from second grade to third this year, I am in a "new-to-me" room. I wish I had taken a picture of the before room, but when I walked in that first time... I can't say I was thinking about blogging as much as diggin' in. And I couldn't exactly see this room turning out that well, what with the mauve colored cabinets. Floral prints would have matched well, but it isn't the 80's nor am I in my 80's.

I digress. Here are some pictures of the finished product. And I must say, it turned out better than I thought.

The lovely craft posters came from a blog. They are adorable and very informative.

The best thing about this room is this black board. It is magnetic paint. Awesome functionality as a word wall.

The library station, much like last year.

Guided reading table. I invested in a shelf from IKEA (covered in zebra print because my baskets didn't match, I know... OCD much?)

This was a bulletin board with gross water stains. So I covered it in hot pink fabric. And the kiddos made "third grade backpacks" to display. They loved making them and they turned out great!

Computer area and supply drawers.

math manipulatives, semi-organized

The whole group area. Had some trouble thinking of colors to go with the mauve cabinets, but decided on pink and green. Kinda my new favorite combo right now. And animal prints as well. Now, I would never actually wear or decorate my house this way (no objections to others doing these things, but I'm not exactly an animal print kinda gal), but they are fun to decorate a classroom.

A work-in-progress calendar wall.

I'm sure there will be many changes and updates to come, but it has been kid-tested for 1 and 1/2 days and has come out on top. Now for the actual teaching part...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Do I have a baby?

Several months ago, I was eating lunch in the teacher's lounge and received a disturbing email. It was titled "What to expect in your 36th week of pregnancy". Why am I getting this??? Who sent this to me? Do I LOOK like I'm 36 weeks pregnant? This is curious. And yet funny. Someone will surely confess to this well played prank.

So we laughed about it.  A few days later, I received more email subscriptions about which car seat is best for baby and which stroller is best for mommy. Still no confession of any friends. 

This continues for a few weeks, then I begin getting things in the mail from Similac. Thanks for the deals, Similac, but I'm not sure I'm there yet. 

Then one of my favorite things I got in the mail: Information on the benefits of keeping my supposed baby's umbilical cord. If I could find the baby, maybe I would find the umbilical cord as well!

Another thing I received in the mail... a trial subscription to Baby magazine. Never mind that I did read one issue and learned some interesting information. Needed to know? Nope. 

Then the last and most hilariously awkward delivery. Actual baby formula. Similac is apparently VERY generous. Thanks for that. 

All to say, I am UBBER prepared for a baby. Good use of my summer time off...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cookin' Up Somethin' Fun

I don't stalk on many blogs regularly, but there is one that I feel obligated to. She is witty and fun. She is creative and has great taste. She doesn't take life too seriously and gives things away constantly. What could be better than that??? Her name is Pioneer Woman. Well, her real name is Ree, but she lives on a ranch in Oklahoma. And she nicknames everyone. It's cute and endearing. 

Anywho, my roommate and I LOVE to make yummy recipes from her cookbooks. She has the prettiest, colorful cookbooks with very scrumptious foods. She cooks with butter. And I mean a LOT of butter. Not that I would ever judge on that account. So, here are some pictures of the amazing cinnamon rolls from her cook book. It is quite a process to cook them, but totally worth the work. And it make enough to serve about 20 people, so we always make friends with this as well.
Here is the dough growing with the yeast. 

Looks kinda gross, but trust me, it isn't. At all.

All those pans, that is what will earn us friends...

So we roll out half of the dough. Don't be scared of the knife, we just like to look serious about our cooking. Inside of that roll is tons of butter, sugar and cinnamon. YUM!

Here they are looking a little bit prettier.

After they have baked...

I can practically smell them now. 

And then smothered in the maple flavored icing. Delicious!